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macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 10, 2009
Calgary, AB

I have a 2011 Mini which I finally installed a second hard drive in last night. It has a 500 GB HDD and I installed a 250 GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD.

My goal was to have the SSD as the boot drive and to use it for things like movie editing, which use a lot of computer power, while keeping the HDD for all other files.

After installing the SSD, I erased it and installed the latest OSX onto it (as the iFixit guide suggested). The problem now is that it basically acts like a new computer. I had to set up a new account and there's nothing on it. What I want is to use my old account, but have everything except certain files on the HDD. The thing I am most concerned about is iTunes and my iPhone backup. I want that to stay on the HDD, and don't want to lose any data.

I do have a time machine backup, but the SSD is smaller than the backup, plus I don't want to clutter the SSD with my old backup. Is there a way to restore only certain parts of a backup (like only account settings, the basics)?

A guide on how to effectively set up a mac to use two drives would probably be the most helpful.

Thanks for checking this out. It's early in the morning and my brain isn't quite functioning yet, so that's why I am asking for help. I can't think of good enough phrasing for a google search on this topic at the moment, so hopefully some of you can help me out.

Please let me know if you need me to elaborate!



macrumors member
Oct 14, 2013
Migration assistant should allow you to accomplish this. As an alternative for migrating your files, you can manually move them in the finder (you'll see both your SSD and HDD in the sidebar or using the shortcut CMD + shift + C).


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009

I'd -test- both SSDs to determine which was fastest. Reads are more important that writes in this regard.

Then -- I'd put my OS, apps and accounts on the faster of the two.

You could use the BlackMagic Speed Test app to do the testing.


macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
eh - I'm guessing you misread the OP.
OP has a spinning hard drive, and added an SSD to the mini.
SSD will be faster than the hard drive :D

Les Kern

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2002
To use the home folder on the external, go to user accounts, OPTION-CLICK on the user (pic) and select ADVANCED OPTIONS. Can also hold option key down when opening iTunes and Photos, but your Docs won't change. This is used when you want to keep the home on the boot drive but might have gargantuan amounts of music, pics and movies on another drive. You can do this and instead of moving your home, copy all your docs over manually then set the homes for media files. Lots of options! Keep in mind that this will make backups a bit more complicated.


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macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2013
North Vancouver
Restart the computer from the SSD ( system preferences - start up disk)

Use migration Assistant app in Utilities to migrate system settings and applications (you can choose to migrate only the system and applications and leave the data files on the HDD) especially if you don't have enough room on the SSD for all the data files.

I have Sierra installed on a SSD with no data files ( only apps and system ) and it takes about 160g that leaves only 90g - I also moved all my itunes library media and pictures to a separate drive.

This keeps the system running clean and IMHO less buggy


macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 10, 2009
Calgary, AB
Thanks for all the replies. I had a busy weekend and wasn't able to try any of this yet, but I will definitely try migration assistant tonight!
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